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Eritrea: The Missing Element for A Democratic Change

The main proposition of this article is that change in Eritrea is inevitable.  However, that does not imply it will occur within the timeframe that the Eritrean opposition professes claiming the regime is at the verge of collapsing. Moreover, change does not imply an automatic transition to a democratic system. The recent events of the so-called Arab Spring are good illustrations that ousting an incumbent government does not always lead to a democratic replacement, as evidenced by the Eritrean case itself. The country was liberated in 1991 and formally became independent in 1993. At that time, Eritreans anticipated a democratic and prosperous country, but their hopes never materialized. Eritrea’s trajectory has been no different from that of the newest state in Africa, South Sudan.

The inevitable change

The current proposition of the inevitability of change is not a cliché which attributes change as a result of economic failure and external isolation. That has been part of the opposition’s discourse for the last decade and a half. In fact, the regime is currently in a more comfortable position than it was in previous years in respect to its international relations and its fiscal situation. Its comfort is gained by its alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and its axis in the so-called Decisive Storm. And that is the result of successful efforts led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), liaising directly with the Eritrean president. Indeed, the UAE has formed a strong alliance with Eritrea, which may vindicate many reports that the former has hired Eritrea’s port, Assab, and established its first military base outside its territory. This is really perplexing considering that Eritrea was not neutral regarding the conflict between Iran and KSA, particularly in their proxy war in Yemen. Since the outbreak of the conflict, many credible reports have confirmed the presence of Iran and the Houthis in Eritrea. Logistical supplies from Iran to Yemen have been routed through Eritrea, and Iranian military training of the Houthi militias has been conducted on Eritrean soil.

Switching allies always comes with disadvantages. In the case of Eritrea, however, it seems that the regime made a perfect calculation. Its previous alliance turned to be advantageous and yielded the financial benefits that the regime was desperate for. Although the financial support was crucial for the Eritrean regime, its gains from allying with KSA and UAE have transcended financial relief. The regime has gained political strength which has manifested in the discomfort of its long-time rival, Ethiopia. This is due to the military and commercial presence of the UAE in Eritrea, particularly in the Assab area. The Ethiopian Prime Minster, Hailemariam Desalegn, has voiced concern about this. Unfortunately, Ethiopia seems to have very limited influence in hindering such an alliance. Even the matter of the Renaissance Dam and Ethiopia’s growing relationship with KSA’s rival, Qatar, seems to have done little to strengthen Ethiopia’s position as all the Gulf States, including Qatar, have adopted a similar approach to the crisis in Yemen.

The improvement of the Eritrean regime’s fiscal status as a result of its alliance with the KSA axis and its growing revenue from gold mining have positively impacted its confidence in itself. This self-assurance has manifested in at least two major situations: currency redemption and engagement with the European Union (EU) and member countries. The currency redemption issue was a very bold decision by all standards: economically, politically, and in terms of security. A shaky regime would not have made such a decision as it would have negatively affected the interests of powerful groups within it and would have had a major impact on the public, which could have triggered unwanted unrest. However, the Eritrean regime managed to overcome all these hurdles, neutralising both the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) and the Eritrean Civil Servants (ECS) by leaking news regarding significant salary increases for them.

The other issue is the regime’s approach to dealing with the EU or the individual countries, which are experiencing unprecedented waves of refugees. Based on EU statistics, Eritreans are the second largest group to arrive on EU coasts after Syrians. As a result of the unprecedented crisis, the EU and its states are desperately seeking measures to mitigate the waves of refugees. Aware of their desperation, the Eritrean regime has applied a useful strategy that allows it to maximize benefits from the plight of refugee with minimal damage. For a long time, the preliminary assessment of the Eritrean refugees’ motivations have suggested that they are fleeing a systematic violation of human rights. The recent increase in the number of refugees could certainly lead to the conclusion that there has been a proportionate increase in gross human rights violations.

To avoid such a conclusion, the regime has opted for what one may call half-open-door tactics. It indirectly encourages the youth to contact its embassies and consulates abroad and to sign an apology form for fleeing the country illegally. Such a step allows the signatories access to consular services and allows them to visit their home country with no fear. The impact of signing the apology form goes beyond legal obligation. It also has a psychological effect, reviving the signatories’ dreams of enjoying the money that they earned during their stay in the host country in their Eritrea with their family or friends. It also reawakens their wishes to buy houses in their preferred location, Eritrea. These hopes make the signatories reluctant to participate in any activities that may be considered against the regime. They fear losing the chance of ultimately returning to their home country. Moreover, these category of refugees mostly are those who recently fled the country and still have much to worry about there. Therefore, they engage in activities such as transferring money back home, obtaining visas to visit Eritrea, and participating in regime activities such as festivals and conferences, particularly those organized by the YPFDJ, the regime’s youth sector.

Preliminary conclusions drawn from aggregate data regarding these activities yielded completely different results. These are conclusions that the regime has carefully shaped, implying that the youth are not political refugees but economic migrants, driven to leave by the absence of opportunities in Eritrea. Resolving such a dilemma requires a different approach from the one required for dealing with political refugees. Not only does this conclusion serve the Eritrean regime, but it also serves the EU and its members. It enables the Eritrean regime to defiantly avoid political pressure and gain economic assistance and simultaneously justify EU members’ hesitation to accept Eritreans as genuine refugee. More importantly, it vindicates the EU’s proposal of positive engagement, allowing it to help Eritrea financially regardless of its human rights violations.

In addition to Eritrea’s economic deterioration, the EU’s assessment identified another major motive behind the Eritrean youths’ exodus: compulsory indefinite national service for everyone above 18 years of age. Therefore, the EU proposed that Eritrea consider the possibility of shortening the period of the national service. However, the Eritrean regime, which has received financial support from KSA and gold mining revenue, rejected the EU’s proposal, leaving the EU no room to manoeuvre. As a result, the EU resumed its development assistance to Eritrea almost unconditionally. The regime was the sole winner, getting away without any commitment to political or economic reforms or even the possibility of shortening the national service period.

The pillars of the inevitability of change premise

The factors underpinning the inevitable change in Eritrea are neither economic deterioration nor external isolation, as the opposition’s discourse suggested. The regime is currently in a more comfortable position than it was three years ago. Hence, the inevitability of change is based mainly on endogenous factors. It is an open secret that the regime in Eritrea is highly centralized, and the burden of managing the state lies on the shoulders of a very small circle around the president. Even this circle exercises executive power only through its members’ roles as aides to the president. That indicates the burden of state affairs lies entirely on the president’s shoulders. Regardless of any state’s size and resources, managing it is not an easy job that a single person can manage rationally and effectively. The abnormality of such a situation would eventually lead to the president following up on every detail or ignoring it. In either case, it would be impossible to manage state affairs rationally as it supposedly should be in any states apparatus.

One of the major factors for the death of the late Egyptian president, Jamal Abdulnasser, was attributed to his obsession with details. He used to spend a long time reading detailed reports, a job that he should have delegated to one of his aides. Following up on details is a real obstacle to seeing the overall picture, and it is the latter that would help one to craft a holistic approach. Revisiting any of Isaias Afewerki’s recent interviews reflects this sad reality. In most of them, he appears to be disoriented and out of touch, and he dwells on trivial issues that have nothing to do with the larger picture. In each interview, the president contradicts something he has addressed in that very interview, a previous one, or a public speech. This is to be expected when one is dealing with trivial details that it is impossible to remember.

The second factor that will certainly result in inevitable change in Eritrea is the mass exodus of the youth in unprecedented numbers. Even those whose parents are still in office are leaving the country. The youth are not democracy or human rights seekers; they simply dream of a better future, which they do not see in the horizon in Eritrea. The dream which motivates them to take such major risks in financial and social terms will motivate members of other sectors who cannot afford the financial or social cost of escaping, to take the risk of seeking change inside Eritrea. There are many indicators of the desire for change. They include the public’s criticism of the regime, particularly in social forums, without fear of consequences. In addition, urbanite Eritreans, especially the youth, are connected through social media, though very low bandwidth and low Internet availability, has relatively contributed to breaking the wall of isolation. Video clips that captured life in Ade Abito prison and the nature of the prison, and the April 3rd events in Asmara confirmed the news that circulated in the Internet. The middle and low ranks in the EDF and the Eritrean civil administration, traders, farmers, students, women, and youth, whose social and financial commitments have deprived them of the opportunity to flee the country, have an obvious interest in bringing about change in Eritrea. These interests will manifest in organized efforts as a prerequisite for change. The two endogenous factors described above will ultimately bring about change in Eritrea.

The timing and nature of change

As was previously indicated, the premise of the inevitability of change in Eritrea does not necessarily suggest that such change will occur within a timeframe commensurate with that which the Eritrean opposition favours, nor does it imply that the outcome of the change will be a democratic system. The time for change due to natural developments is unpredictable; it’s somewhat similar to a chemical interaction that requires a catalyst. The catalyst is not only responsible for speeding things up, but is also pivotal in determining the timing of the change and its outcomes. Although all the major ingredients for change in Eritrea are present, the catalyst is missing. This is essential for two main reasons: the absence of a catalyst means that it is not possible to accelerate the process or to guarantee that it will lead to a state of a stable country governed by a democratic system.

At the present moment, Eritrea does not have the luxury of waiting for change to occur within the normal cycle (with its unpredictable timeframe and outcomes). Consequently, the introduction of the catalyst is indispensable. Any change that duplicates the current pattern of PFDJ with its authoritarian, sectarian and corrupt system will not be less devastating than allowing the current regime to continue.

To this end, it is crucial to determine the identity of the catalyst that will accelerate the change and contribute to a transition to a stable country and democratic governance. Change resulting from foreign inference, as was the case in Afghanistan in 2001, in Iraq in 2003, and in Libya in 2012, is less likely to happen in Eritrea. Moreover, if it happens, it will not result in a stable and democratic replacement. Therefore, this article suggests that the most favourable catalyst constitutes of the Eritrean forces for democratic change in the Diaspora. However, executing this role requires the forces in question to have conviction, consciousness, a strong will, and knowledge of the nature of the task, all of which can manifest in an action plan that can be measured and assessed.

At this point, I would like to point out to the essential factors that will enable the forces of change inside Eritrea to take the initiative and organize its efforts to bringing about change. A measurable plan must be drafted based on the needs of the forces of change and in response to the challenges that face them. The main challenge involves breaking the fear barrier that came into being as a result of the tight security grip inside Eritrea and the propaganda regarding its strength, effectiveness, and brutality. The notorious reputation of the security forces (whether justified or otherwise) has created mistrust among various sectors of the society and among individuals. This environment hampers any organized efforts to bring about change in Eritrea. The absence of such efforts inside Eritrea is caused more from fear that holds people back, and less from the actual ability of the security forces. At this stage, breaking the chain of fear is only possible if the segments of the society regain their self-confidence and mutual trust. To this end, well-designed media messages that provide accurate information and analysis and promote the values that Eritrean people inherited during the armed struggle for independence (pride, sacrifice, and valor) are necessary. In addition, the messages should focus on the positive news that occurs in other cities as it is well known that people imitate each other and gain confidence by doing so. For instance, a single incident in a remote area in south Tunisia provoked the Arab Spring, encouraging the expression of discontent to spread to other parts of Tunisia and to the region beyond.

The second issue that needs to be addressed is the role of Eritreans in the Diaspora. People inside Eritrea are subjected to a single source of information in the form of regime-controlled media (television, radio, and newspapers). The media outlets continuously broadcast information about “the huge support that the regime enjoys abroad”. YPFDJ’s activities abroad receive priority over other news. The outcome of promoting such images is clear: they send the message that the only viable solutions are those of the individual. That is, people can cross the border and find heaven waiting for them. The sentiment that change is impossible and reforms are not an option, at least in the foreseeable future, discourage them from thinking about collective solutions.

The third issue that demotivates the forces of change inside Eritrea is the uncertainty that lies beyond change. There are no guarantees; the country could plunge into chaos, ultimately ending up a failed state akin to Libya, Yemen, and Syria. The regime fosters such concerns through its media outlets by constantly portraying Eritrea as prey that many regional and international predators are targeting.

In conclusion, I reiterate the inevitability of change, with the forces inside Eritrea playing the major role. However, this process requires a catalyst to determine its timing and outcome. As I have ruled out external interference, the forces of change in the Diaspora are likely to be a compatible element for the interactions that such change will entail. Their capacity to play such a role and their competence are a necessary precondition. In a subsequent article, I will evaluate the forces of change in the Diaspora based on their ability and readiness for this pivotal task.

 

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  • Abi

    Hi Taazabi
    Now this is a unique comment coming from a unique person in a unique way.

    Ras Abi teshenafi
    Taazabi ashenafi
    Saleh Gadi fishka nefi
    Tizibt new tirfu
    Minim layaterfu
    Ebakwo ayleflfu

  • A.Osman

    Dear Guest,
    Thanks for the clarification, looking at their location, what you said makes sense. I had assumed the meto be meto was guaranteed at least in Tigrai region as that was what SAAY used to prove TPLF were no different to EPLF when it came to political pluralism.

    Regards
    AOsman

  • Abi

    Selam Wolde ab
    Thank you . You are always kind to me .
    I was watching this extremely gifted ventriloquist on America Got Talent show and comparing him to TPLF/EPRDF. Try to watch the last act that won him a million dollars and you will see what I’m saying.

  • Abi

    Hope Nebsi
    I couldn’t finish reading your comment. I stopped somewhere to count the number of zeros in a trillion. Too many zeros to count.
    TT called Eritreans ” not normal people “. You called them ” unique people “. I call them ” uniquely ubnormal” people who destroy themselves for the benefit of others.
    The Eritrean students who initiated change in Ethiopia are now back in Ethiopia begging for a venue for a convention.
    Moreover, they are in a group of two, four, five, three and a half ( some could not decide where they belong, their brain to this party, their heart to that party). They must be UBNORMALLY UNIQUE to go back to the country they betrayed and bled for the sake of Arabs . I’m sure some of them are former urban mass mobilization experts who are invited as guest of honors to share their expertise as to how back stab the Ethiopians one more time. Not a chance! As a commentator once said in this forum ” Ethiopia is a graveyard for the Eritrean opposition.” You know who said this? Let me see if you have been paying attention in the past several years? Enough talking about the unique people.
    Ok, let me go back to my counting your zeros.
    0000000000000000000

  • Hope

    Dear Author:
    A short but a sweet and to the point analysis.
    The dilemma is as to how can we achieve that.
    The Strategy is fine but the Logistics and the implementation???
    The Security Network at home is beyond imagination,not just impenetrable.
    I know it is beyond your article’s scope to go into the details but the Diaspora Opposition cannot even try to come together let alone to coordinate the things it has at hand.
    It is not as easy as you made it to look as such.

  • DB

    [From the moderator: begin comments with salutation. Message deleted]

  • Dear All,

    Indeed change is inevitable. That is the law of nature. Political change occurs even in those so called democratic countries, let alone in countries ruled by dictatorial regimes. The main point is if this change is a radical change for the better, or a natural continuation of the old by replacing it with more or less a similar one.

    There are two opposing forces on the each side of the aisle. The PFDJ regime, strong and solid on one side, and on the opposite side are the middle and low ranks in the EDF (nobody is sure if they are pro-change or not, although theoretically they are expected to be) and the Eritrean society in general, that has been systemically made to feel poor, defeated and hopeless by the regime. Those are the people who have remained behind, because they could not flee the country for economic reasons. They are mainly children, women and old people, and they are expected to break the chain of fear of the security apparatus and the military, and take the situation in to their own hands and bring change.

    The youth are supposed to be not democracy or human rights seekers. Fifty percent of those who run away are members of the armed forces and generally fleeing the country is incorporated in to the minds of the young Eritrean, rather than facing their nemesis. Still worse, some of them become passionate supporters of the regime they run away from as soon as they reach safety. This is reminiscent of people suffering from the so-called the Stockholm syndrome or the Battered-Wife syndrome.

    Tunisia and Eritrea are not the same. In one case there was an educated young middle class that was waiting for change. They hated the dictator and they never revered him. In the case of Eritrea, people have been made to feel that they are at the mercy of the regime, and it is difficult to expect these people to instigate change. The change-makers (the young) are absent.
    The late Egyptian president, Jamal Abdul Nasser was a diabetic and died of a massive heart attack as the result of the 1967 crushing defeat at the hands of the Israelis.
    DIA most probably manifests the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s syndrome compounded by brain function degeneration due to chronic alcohol abuse. Such people are finally silently replaced by a strong or a stronger person in his vicinity. Moreover, he does not seem to be the type of men who will die of overwork and overexertion. It is not that he is consumed by the trivial details, on the contrary, he has no idea about details, and rather he is a bull in a china shop.

    Finally, about “the most favorable catalyst constitutes of the Eritrean forces for democratic change in the Diaspora” (i.e. the opposition). At least up to now supposed to be a divided and ineffective group, I wonder if they can instigate change (or act as a catalyst of change), while bodily absent from the field where events take place. Armed with the power of the media and modern technology, and with a remote control in hand, starting a revolution from a distance could be possible in this 21st century. I do not know.

    One last point; Eritrea cannot be internally democratic and externally confrontational. She is either democratic inside out; or a dictatorship inside out. That is how things are. It is this indecisiveness that keeps the opposition floating in uncertainty, and it is unable to act.

    • T..T.

      Hi Horizon,

      The Eritreans inside Eritrea are on life struggle fatigue and the Eritrean Diasporas are on maintaining-fatigue of those inside Eritrea. It is a slow death for both.

      The tyrant is just exposing the country to a million problems that cannot be solved easily. The people, inside and outside the country, have got into vicious circles of not knowing the difference between victory and defeat or dignity and slavery.

      Therefore, Eritreans are not normal people like the other people of the world. They are just victims of bad cultures in that they don’t say right on the face of their elderlies and leaders when they see something wrong. They are also victims of their love for peace. They don’t battle back their leaders. We know that only those who lose battle seek to win wars. We saw that in Tunisia. Can that happen in Eritrea without going on confronting the truth headon.

      Eritreans inside Eritrea are not battling the regime. They are rather simply fleeing the country because they have nothing to heed a lesson of their failure in confronting the coward tyrant. Yes, our people inside Eritrea stopped trying to regain their dignity long-long-long time ago. They are just destroying the Eritrean Diaspora by sucking their earnings asking monthly remittance for everything including their health cares. That’s why the regime’s cruelty is causing a slow death in Eritrea, which can be considered worse than genocide of a nation.

      • Abi

        Hi TT (Truth Teller)
        “Therefore, Eritreans are not normal people like the other people of the world.”
        What else is new?
        Can we safely say they are ” unique ” people ?

        • T..T.

          Hi Abi,

          When one is a victim of her/his weakness, the uniqueness will not necessarily make her/him unique or unlike anyone else in everything.

          The aspect of weakness that made the Eritrean people disunited in their fight against the tyrant is our focus here, yet we see that their (Eritreans) life experience in countries outside Eritrea changed most of them as to speak out against the tyrant and the corruptions of the system.

          The Eritrean journey of independence and liberation from the occupation force was long, exhausting and not easy. The people deserve a break off from wars, discrimination, gross incompetence of leadership and corruptions. But the tyrant, remote controlled by the Arab Gulf countries, is not giving them peace of mind. Otherwise, the Eritreans, as teachers of change and revolutions of many people including the Ethiopians, know their weakness and they should not be underestimated. Their weakness is a temporary thing. They are on a wake up process to put the tyrant and his commanders in a big cage of animals, soon.

          • Abi

            Hi TT
            It seems you changed your mind and made Eritreans normal people again. I’m relieved. You don’t want abnormal people as your neighbors.
            So these teachers and revolutionary people ( yelewT hawariya) who graduated from the Cairo university faculty of self distraction, are still controlled by the Arab remote control?
            You see ” yadaqone seyTan sayaqes ayleqim “. Well, again, what else is new?

          • T..T.

            Dear Abi,

            I was expecting you to ask the question as to how the weak opposition was going to encage (put in cage) the tyrant and his commanders. If you would like to know, I just read an opposition memo http://www.togoruba.org/togoruba1964/mainTogorubamap/mainMap/headingMap/2016/2205SF6-02NT.pdf issued in Asmara indicating that the opposition is gaining momentum inside Asmara. The existing mistrust among the tyrant’s service men and the members of the defense forces is giving opportunities to the opposition to penetrate the tyrant’s lines. The purpose of the opposition members’ activities inside Asmara is to evaluate and study ways on how to weed out the root causes of the opposition’s inactions against the weak points of the tyrant inside Asmara.

            It seems that soon and once the opposition strengthens its internal front (inside the city of Asmara), everything will be changed in favor of the people. The opposition already started putting the criminal elements on warnings to stop their criminal activities. As many of the opposition are awaiting, soon you will see students taking their demands to the streets in protest against the regime’s policies of enslavement.

    • Peace!

      Dear Horizon,

      The problem is, when it comes to solving Eritrean problems, almost everybody including Ethiopians act as experts and make things sound worse. I don’t know if you know there is a saying in Amharic it goes: Awaki S’ibeza B’eshetgna Y’motal. You really sound as if you left Eritrea few hours ago, seriously. As an Ethiopian, if you really wish to help Eritreans, you could try to convince your murderous TPLF regime to stop interfering in the Eritrean opposition groups business, stop polarizing the camp, and stop baby sitting them and let them man up and help their own people otherwise your comments do not sound genuine given the fact that your own country is ostensibly experiencing turmoil. According to the senior Ethiopian opposition leader, Abdirahaman Madhi of ONLF, speaks of the marginalisation of Ethiopia’s Somali region. “[Until] recently, we had only one secondary school after 100 years of Ethiopian occupation, we had one hospital … Our women have no maternity services–How can you develop people you are raping? Our alliance is now expanding,” he says. “Like the Arab Spring, we are going to start insurrection all over the place. Ethiopia is now boiling … The regime is now in disarray; they’re divided. The people of Ethiopia have now risen up. They want their rights. We are tired of one clique dominating the rest of Ethiopia.” Just curios, would you mind sharing the reason why you seem losing a sleep thinking about Eritrea while the bed you are sleeping is crumbling?

      Now, before your usual personal attack, I have no ill wish against Ethiopian people whatsoever, but it is just hard to take an Ethiopian advise for Eritrean solution at face value.

      Peace!

      • Dear Peace,
        There is also the saying “በሺታዉን የደበቀ መድሃኒት አይገ ኝለትም”. If you say the PFDJ regime is fine, then you have missed the point. When one has a neighbor that sends now and then armed insurgents, as the ones apprehended at Arba Minchi only recently, one has to worry. If TPLF can control the Eritrean opposition, then the problem is with the opposition and not with TPLF. Egypt has not yet bombed Ethiopia as you people are wishing, and now you are betting on ONLF to do the sinister job against Ethiopia. It is not going to happen. Tell the regime you support to contribute positively to the regional politics than act as a spoiler.

        • Peace!

          Dear Horizon,

          Thank you for the proverb that fits your misplaced worries exactly, በሺታዉን የደበቀ መድሃኒት አይገ ኝለትም. On my side, obviously, no one is hiding anything or even pretending; we are here talking about our problems and solutions 24/7. When is the last time you talk about your own people grievances? may be never;) What’s even ironic is that every time I mention the injustice in Ethiopia, your response is the the same, you are pfdj, Egypt will never bomb Ethiopia, your an ill wisher…..well, my friend, there is a serious injustice in Ethiopia and your country needs to deal with it before too late, and please have some sympathy to your fellow Ethiopians who are dying in the hands of “Agazi” TPLF soldiers and languishing in Ma’Ekelawi torture places.

          Peace!

          • Dear Peace,
            Yes, our social groups have still their grievances; but they are gradually becoming self-assertive through their ethnic federal states, unlike in Eritrea. They are demanding for equal rights for their people and equal development for their region, and they are getting it. Of course, it is not yet satisfactory, nor is the government without blames. For example, the anti-terrorism law is its Achilles Heel, for which it is condemned by many. Nevertheless, what happens in Ethiopia in general terms is better when compared with the situation in Eritrea. Whatever one might say, today no one ethnic group can have the upper hand so easily in Ethiopia.

          • Peace!

            Dear Horizon,

            Obviously I did not compare the situation of both countries. I was just interested to hear what you had to say about the injustice in your country, and not supringly you are not honest about it, not that I am obsessed to know, but to check how genuine your advice is when it comes to Eritrean problem. This is what you said: “today no one ethnic group can have the upper hand so easily in Ethiopia.” You must be kidding me, have you ever heard people say: “በሺታዉን የደበቀ መድሃኒት አይገ ኝለትም” So, the Ethiopian opposition groups and peaceful protesters are opposing and dying for fun?!! እረ ባክህ ተው ምንኣለበት እውነት ብትናገር? Wow!

            let’s laugh, it is a weekend!

            ልጅ: ኣባየ ዲሞክራሲ ምንድነው?

            ኣባት: መንፈስ ነው ልጄ ET-V ላይ ትስመዋለክ እንጂ ኣታየውም

            Peace!

          • Dear Peace,
            You were talking of TPLF and I was trying to tell you that today the Ethiopian government (the EPRDF) is a coalition of four ethnic parties & the actions of the Ethiopian government is not the action of one single party e. g. TPLF, but that of all the parties that participate in the government. Therefore, one party (one ethnicity) cannot have the upper hand & unilaterally decide to take an action . Please, do not change the subject continously, and try to understand what I am saying.
            If you people are to teach us about honesty, I doubt if it will have any value. I have finished.

          • Guest

            Hi there
            What up bro from n show are you saying the 4 parties are equals? If so how? And what do you think of welakit?

          • A.Osman

            Dear Guest,

            Could you elaborate on Welkait. While I was in Addis I started to follow VoA and the issue of a group of people claiming to be Amhara even though they spoke Tigrigna was covered in two shows. I then had to check the map and realised that curent Tigray map was not that of old Ethiopia, now shifted westward bordering Sudan. Unfortunately I did not catch the second part to hear the full story, but it was another good lesson that defining things based on language is not a panacea. A week or so after I saw on ETV a huge protest in Tigray in support of the government and checking the name of the city that I can’t recall at this moment it was clear that it was to shut those who felt they do not belong to Tigray region.

            Regards
            AOsman

          • Abi

            Selam Horizon
            Endet new negeru?
            There is TPLF and there are none. The rest are condoms. Don’t be fooled by the meto bemeto debacle.
            The rest don’t exist except on TV.
            You are on the other side of the horizon on this. I had a kind of fight with Fanti on this. ( if it is possible to fight with him.)

          • Dear Abi,

            I believe that TPLF of the 1990s and TPLF of today are not and cannot be the same. If Ethiopians believe that its sinful early years when it worked hand and gloves with EPLF and allowed Ethiopia to be robbed so that it can control Ethiopia still exists, then I think Ethiopians are insulting their dignity. TPLF has to walk a tightrope for the sake of its own existence, and I think it is doing so (no good having too many enemies, my friend). PMHD was called a puppet PM and he has shown that he is a competent man who can function on a collective basis (nothing wrong with that). We used to say that Tigray was developing at the expense of other ethnic regions, but the facts on the ground do not prove this. More or less, all regional states are developing, and you do not see concentration of development in any one ethnic region, except naturally the center of the country. It is also said that there are too many TPLF generals in the Ethiopian Armed Force (a federation armed forces). This could have significance if generals fought against generals and not soldiers against soldiers. As much as rich Ethiopians are concerned, they come from all ethnic groups, and may be more from the TPLF side, as it usually occurs in such situations. Russian oligarchs are much more famous for this. It is up to Ethiopians to turn the tables.

            If Ethiopians are still afraid of TPLF and are worried of what it can do alone from the center of Ethiopia, then there is a problem with our people and the absence of self-confidence is worrisome. As time passes TPLF will be forced to work more with others and it cannot be the leader of the game forever. Ethiopians are much more self-assertive and confident today than they were in the early 1990s.

          • Abi

            Selam Horizon
            Are we talking about democracy or dabo?
            You know how much I love dabo!
            TPLF/EPRDF killed democratic movements looonnnng time ago.
            EPRDF should be the last party to talk about democracy or equal representation or human rights.
            I was at AAU when the “Adma Betagn Police ” killed students for protesting in their own campus. Fast forward 20 years they are still killing protesters in their own villages. They are cowards to say the least. Not the people.
            Shall we talk about dabo? Let Fantish talk about democracy where EPRDF ” arranged and rearranged ” these parties. I call these parties ” EPRDF beAmsalu yefeTerachew agelgayoch”.

          • Dear Abi,

            Why make us choose between the two, Dabo or Democracy? Both are the rights of human beings. Human beings need their daily dabo to function and democracy for their complete fulfillment. Why not demand for both?
            Tilahun Gessesse was saying dabo without fiqr is not enough.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQGRv6zPZWM

          • Abi

            Selam Horizon
            Let me make myself extremely clear here
            TPLF is an excellent ventriloquist with no match.
            One man and three puppets pretending they are alive and kicking.

          • Hope

            You “scared” me Guad Abinet!
            Hope to invite you for s special Shehanful with an Original andc Cassic Kerenite Mint Berad Shahi in Downtown Keren or at Kostina Hotel after the dust settles down or fades away!
            You, at times, mesmerize me with your short but sharp and bitterly truthful comments.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Horizon,
            My God ! what a challenging moment was that! I am not really able to visit those days . But I am so addicted I am trying to read the most important names views like yours and Amanuel.

            It was a pain full moment to see things went to this length. At this moment all I can say is stand tall and things will be alright. Remember we are for love and peace and when some misunderstands appear, we should not go disappointed – as love is above all circumstances. I love you my friend. I enjoyed the song of the king R.I.P. yes ended what we miss is LOVE.

          • Dear K.S.,

            Not really a problem, as much as I am concerned.

            I could not be a TPLF supporter even if I force myself to be, and I could not label TPLF democratic, not in my wildest dreams. Quite the opposite. Ethiopians should no more allow it to be above the law, as it used to be, because times have changed, and Ethiopians are much more confident about themselves. In addition, saying that EPRDF is non-existent and it is impotent, is equivalent to giving all the credit to TPLF for what has happened in Ethiopia, especially in everything connected to development.

            I hate to support or condemn somebody blindly, all the time and for everything, even if it is somebody I support or oppose. That is why I tell myself, I can never be a politician.

            As much as commenting on Eritrean issues, which almost always are somehow connected to Ethiopian issues, I think that it is only the moderators who can tell me that the subject is out of bounds, and they have every right to act accordingly.
            Regards.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Horizon,

            perfect, in here only moderator can do that. but even he can’t stop you saying what ever you want to say else where. what is important here is that what you are saying is not wrong and yes we are connected. I put my views regarding Ethiopian politics and I always think it is my right to say while decision makers for their case are Ethiopians.

            But what is the meaning of supporting one political line. for example I support the present of opposition against PFDJ for known clear reasons but that doesn’t mean I support the style of most parties. In fact honestly speaking I believe only the party who works on the ground taking risk will lead and won over PFDJ. to give you hint there are people working inside and out side those days and this will change the situation of the opposition – in short meeting here and there without any fruit is going to be replaced by real actions. then all those talks will change as action will force everyone either to be part of heroes or leave the stage and sleep. yet, when all shout the slogan ” UNITY” I will also join them although I know most are not practical. it is getting the most advantage out of the reality.

            Today Ethiopia is much better than it use to be when comes to administration. putting in to consideration the problems and obstacles they are facing I can say Ethiopia will not have better government at this era and the mass should use the chance.

            keep saying what you think about situations live alone about those two sisterly nations even about the entire Africa. Keep it up ..and enjoy this https://africanpeopleoflove.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/to-a-lot-of-people-africa-is-just-a-dark-place-but-to-us-its-home-and-we-are-proud-of-it-be-proud-of-your-heritage/

          • Dear K.S.,

            If there were not pockets of civil war, self-exclusion from regional families, African leaders did not believe that power is marriage without divorce until …., religious extremism is not being exported to Africa from the KSA (thanks to its oil money it can throw away in all directions at ease), El Nino (an uncontrollable and deadly enemy) does not visit the continent every 5-10 yrs, and corruption and kleptocracy do not undermine Africa’s economy, etc, Africa has a great future ahead of it. It seems that at last some African leaders (albeit still few) have become aware of the potential of their continent and the possibility for a bright future.

            The East African Block of countries are connecting by fibro-optic cables, roads, railways and electricity grids. Kenya is investing $bns on railways and Ethiopia is doing the same. There is a plan to connect Djibouti with railway to West Africa, the Cairo – Cape Town highway and the highway connecting North Africa to South Africa down the length of Western part of Africa, will all be a reality, thus opening the continent for investment.

            Some countries of Africa are mobilizing their people to enter the manufacturing market thus gradually replacing countries of SE Asia, like Bangladesh, Vietnam and others. Of course, peace and stability are prerequisite for FDI and for all these to happen. Let us hope that Africans are finally waking up from their deep slumber.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Horizon,

            Now, where are all those educated Africans? what are they doing in other nations? this is another colonialism but we should not blame other continent nations and we should accept that we are hurting our continent by working for others. I don’t know if I am wrong or not but I think most of African intellectuals who leave their continent are opportunists. Some may come with the reason which may look correct- blaming their governments – but since those governments are part of the people and are the result how we Africans think we can’t shoulder every problem to governments. we need to tackle our internal problems. African problem by African solution Ha ha ha…Lol. But then none comes to work practically. It is the same with national problems. “እኔ ምን ኣገባኝ”.this the killer diseases Africa is facing. they want change but they don’t want to be part. how do we cure this do you think?

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            I’m disappointed with you for not mentioning Ras Abi in your most important names.
            Eway wurdet! Tewaridna ale Tigre!
            I just called to say Hello.
            The AP exams are finished. I and the boys are relaxing. Tell me about your daughter’s exam results.
            All the best!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abo SHIKOR,
            I don’t have to mention your name as it is there always. who can imagine I will not remember you when ever I type here. I love you without any precondition. Lol. ANTE YE MENGSTU ZEMACH.

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            I’m honored.
            Ras Abi Ye Mengistu Zemach
            TegenTay wenbede arbetbach!
            Zeraf!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abiye,

            ይሀው ! ኣለቀቀህ – ጉረኛ :: ቆይ ግን የኣረብ ባርያና ኣገልጋይ ያልከኝ እኮ ሆነልህ – ሰዎቹ ኣገሪቱን እየገዙ ነው : Lol.

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            ” lehulum mesenbet wanaw neger Tena
            Kifu degun leyen edme agegnenina.
            Gize kemestawot endemin yileyal
            Enkuwan yesew fitun jerbawun yasayal.” (Tewodros Taddesse, the best Ethiopian singer ever!)

          • Kokhob Selam

            Abiye,
            Hey, but know that we are here and we never give up till the freedom with the meaning we fought for is materialized. I told you it is a mater of time – and watch.

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Seems like this freedom fighting has multiple phases and multigenerational.
            Phase I 1961-1991
            Phase II 1991-2091
            Phase III 2091- Kiristos eskimeTa
            Kiristos min ale?
            Memchaye ayitaweqim, neqtachihu tebqu.
            Kokobe min ale?
            “I told you it is a matter of time-and watch.”
            Ok! I’m on the watchtower watching beyond the peaceful stars.

          • Kokhob Selam

            Ababu, Ha ha ha..

            Didn’t you notice when I said long back – we have big lung and long breath.. what is the meaning of living in now and at present? I have never been unhappy and I enjoyed life fully as freedom is here in me since I have rejected slavery.. Abo did you hear people complaining only those 25 years? not me – I start complaining since I came to the world but I never stop living. That is a big problem the ugly politicians face. PFDJ is unable to coup – what will some one do on someone happy and never give up till the end of the world.

          • Abi

            Kokobe jeganu
            So you have been complaining ever since you were born?
            Well, I think Abe Gobegna wrote your story in ” Alweledim”.

            What is this ” we have a big lung and long breath” means? Why don’t you just tell me you are a cheetah.
            Don’t worry! We are LIONS!!!!!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Abi,

            Cheetah? just that abo! Lions! you still don’t know how men and women for change are strong! stronger than you thought so far.

            regarding Abe Gobegna’s book I think the opposite one.. “btwedum batwedum eweledalehu”

          • Abi

            Kokobe
            Teregzo bahir mado
            Asmara ketema teweldo
            Yadgal bemadego woy nedo, woy nedo!

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Horizon,
            .
            It is an interesting discussion about TPLF and EPRDF you and Abi are having.
            .
            I know you said you will never make a good politician. Let me see if you approve my attempt at the profession of politics.
            .
            Ras Abi, is right in his analysis of TPLF under the leadership of Meles up until 1998.
            .
            The wise Horizon is right about TPLF and EPRDF after the year 2000 and the split of Seye Abraha and Meles groups.
            .
            The rest is an evolving journey as we speak. Let us prey it will lead to a bigger and a better place.
            .
            Mr. K.H

          • Abi

            Hello Mr Kim
            A little correction here
            Until 1998 it was not only TPLF but also EPLF run Ethiopia.
            TPLF let EPLF and its associated business loot Ethiopia to the bone. Can you believe the Eritrean embassy at Abyot Adebabay was ground zero for money laundering? Do you know EpLF was kidnapping and killing in Addis? Look all these anti-Ethiopia amiches like Ted are the looters and counterfeit experts before 1998. I’m glad we are free from them.
            The border war was the best thing happened to Ethiopia. I was sick of Ethiopia yegarachin Eritrea yeglachin BS.
            Happy Independence Day for All.

          • Zara Yaqob

            Hi Horizon,

            I think you meant a party of one and three puppets.

          • Peace!

            Dear Horizon,

            It is totally fine with me if you choose to defend TPLF and its non existent democracy, but, my point is, it doesn’t put you in a position to advice others. If my house is not clean, I have no moral ground to advise others. Please stay on …thank you!

            Peace!

      • Hope

        Selamat Peace:
        You know the agenda and the role of such and such people.
        Yeah,that is right,Horizon et al should advise their Opportunist and the Puppet TPLF Government ,which does not respect basic International Laws.

        • Peace!

          Dear Hope,

          ጉድ እኮ ረኺብና ወላ ናዓዶም ጹቡቕ ገይሮም ዘይፈልጡ ኢትዮጵያውያን መላመዲ ክገብሩና, ይገርምዩ.

          Peace!

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Horizon,

      We have enough middle class and intellectual class to meet a protype of Tunisian democratic transition. That will never was and never will be our problem. We know our problem and surely will overcome it. Let me assure you that the issue of middle class has never been the worry of the Eritrean people. So keep away yourself from telling us what we can and can’t do on our domestic issues.

      Regards
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Dear Emma
        In Tigrayt, we say “Jefer habewo mgb Haza” which roughly translates to ” He who is given an edge or the periphery wants to occupy the center” OR, you give someone a piece (share) but he fights to get the whole. Take your time to decipher it.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Mahmuday,

          ነገሩ : ሰው አብሎ ቆብ ከብሎ ስለዝኾነ:: And I have it my brother. The worst thing that I hate is, while people have their own problem, they love to talk about others problem. Horizon is doing exactly that. That is hypocracy to say the least.

          There is nothing that we can debate with our Ethiopian brothers, except on regional issues (on the horn in general) and on bilateral relationship of the two countries on conditional issues.

          Regards
          Amanuel Hidrat

      • Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

        What I say is just my opinion and it has no effect whatsoever on what takes place in the horn. If you cannot bear with my opinion and you find it irritating, sorry for that. I really wish you all the luck in the world. It is good for you, and it is good for everybody.

  • T..T.

    Dear all and all anti-Ghetebism,

    The anti-Gheteb group refers to those who embrace the system in Eritrea, a system with illogical and unreasonable governance that rules by fear, horror and miseries, as those from the outside this universe.

    It is indeed a ground breaking culture of politics in Eritrea to confront the truth headon and come together to condemn all those who empower the tyrant to continue depriving and denying the whole Eritrean people of their basic human dignity. The slow death of a nation is even worse than genocide of a nation http://www.gereger.com/data/media/O7HUPfPgA_original.jpg

    The world is a witness that even the Sinai of Egypt was littered with remainings of Eritrean harvested corpses. Any country that comes to stand by the tyrant in Eritrea, a regime that exposes the whole population to horror, misery and genocide, must be condemned.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Hi T.T,

      If Gheteb is supporting the system in Eritrea, how could those who are anti-Ghetebism embrace the system in Eritrea? Can you explain what Ghetebism entails from your perspectives? I am lost to your charscterization of Ghetebism.

      Regards
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • T..T.

        Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

        Let’s dissect to simplify the sentence: “The anti-Gheteb group refers to those who embrace the system in Eritrea, a system with illogical and unreasonable governance that rules by fear, horror and miseries, as those from the outside this universe” as to read “The anti-Gheteb group refers to those who embrace the system in Eritrea as those from the outside this universe.”

        Gheteb refers to anti-tyrant group as illogical and from outside this universe. And the anti-Ghetebism opposition group refers to Gheteb and those other pro-the-tyrant group as irrationals and “from the outside this universe.” It is a kind of TiHisho game, when one insults another, the insulted can say “TiHisho,” just returning the fire with relish.

  • Kim Hanna

    Selam AMAN,
    .
    “QES B’ QES ENQUWULLAL B’EGRU YIHEDAL !?”
    AMAN, what is up with this Gojjame saying? Don’t tell me you are a Gojjame too? Now, I know you are not that Gheteb guy for sure.
    .
    Mr. K.H

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Ya Selam…ya Selam
    What an outstanding article! Thanks brother Abdulraziq. Well written, excellent ideas. I agree with your views. Some of us have tried to push these same ideas on this forum. We know what we have experienced. Realizing the fact that the forum sample is not representative of the general reader, I hope the article will get the attention it deserves by the general reader. I also await eagerly for your follow up article.
    Thank you brother.

  • Peace!

    Dear Abdulrazik Kirar,

    Excellent, job well done. Thank you for shading a light that we really need to get realistic and evaluate our capacity. It is the opposition groups fault for giving the regime enough room to maneuver and ultimately solidify its false hope. Even if the financial support the regime enjoying dry up tomorrow, the zero leverage opposition groups have no capacity to take any advantage if remain badly disorganized. The prerequisite to fight for change is that to understand sustainable change will only come from within.

    HAPPY INDEPENDENCE, ERITREA.

    Go ahead and celebrate: Eritrea doesn’t belong to PFDJ. Of course no good reason to get drunk and dance all night long, but it should be a great opportunity to renew our commitment for peaceful and democratic Eritrea.

    ዘልኣለማዊ ዝኽሪ ንስውኣትና; ዓወት ንውጹዕ ህዝቢ ERITREA!

    Peace!

  • Ustaz Ali

    Wow! I am completely blown away! What an intelligent, thoughtful, honest and balanced article. I never expected to find an intelligent and balanced article on awate.com because usually the articles that appear on this website have nothing to do with reality. The author is correct. If change is going to come, it will have to be organic and come from inside. The author is also correct in mentioning that PFDJ is in a relatively better position now than it was a few years ago because of the alliances it has struck. Anyhow, well-written article Mr. Kerar. My hat is off to you, sir! I hope to read more reality-based articles like this on awate.com going forward.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Ustaz Ali,
      .
      I agree with you whole heartedly that this article is a very good, well grounded and thoughtful presentation. I am sure we will read more similar thoughtful and good articles from this author and others in the future.
      .
      The part where I take issue with you is your big swipe at the previous articles as being frivolous and not up to the standard. I have visited here and read many articles over the years. Out of a 100, I bet you 90 are good articles that say something useful and are informative. The 10 are those whackos you complain about.
      .
      So what I am suggesting is for you to come more often and compliment the good ones with few points of your own to improve and add to the quality. By the same token, when those 10 show up, please express your disdain so that they don’t flourish.
      I recommend you look at Awate as a public garden of ideas. Encourage, water and feed the flowers and the fruit trees while “weeding out” the weeds.
      .
      Mr. K.H

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    Hi all,

    The system in Eritrea is clueless. Some foreigners associate Isayas’s system with socialism or anarchism because they could not define it. Isayas just got on top and doesn’t know how to get down.

    The whole population is suffering from absolute deprivation of rights and subsistence. Isayas is using zonal system to dictate his terms on the people and is using his solo political party to get support to oppress the party members and the whole people. Isayas is just selling his foreign policy to whoever supports his dictatorship and to whoever funds his hidden agendas of destroying the region.

    Our headon truth confrontation is the only door to understanding Isayas and his system. As a continuation and follow up to what has been in discussion about the zonal system of the ELF General Command (GC) versus the Isayasists, if you’ve got something to say as head-on truth-confrontation against the unrevolutionary practices of Isayas, say and condemn it now or forever hold your stand and be a slave of the Isayasism.

    Under the ELF’s General Command zonal structure, the military commanders were in full control. Similarly, under the current Isayas’s zonal structure, the military commanders exercise full control of their zones.

    Although Isayas used the General Command’s assignment to claim the title “General Isayas” to influence militarily and political conscious Eritrean in his zone, he latter condemned the ELF’s General Command zonal system as unsuitable system to the Eritrean realities.

    Comparing the ELF General Command zonal system to the Isayas’s zonal system, both gave the generals free hand to exercise any means for their selfish purposes. However, the ELF’s General Command zonal system authorized each zonal command to recruit its people from its own localities for better and fair treatment of the zone’s people. Whereas, the Isyas’s zonal system only assigns commanders and authorities from one family group or ethnicity.

    Thus, the ELF’s General Command zonal system had a structure of federal system. The Isayas’s or the current zonal system in Eritrea has Oligarchy structure, where the government is control by a few from the same family group to support the tyrant to rule the country without opposition imposing all aspects of slavery upon the people of the country.

  • Ismail A. Ahmad

    Ahlen again Abdulrazig,
    This is a follow up to my earlier brief comment. When I saw the article I thought it is a one-part posting. But later I saw the Arabic version at Adoulis.com, and a second part is coming soon, which will address how the external (Diaspora) element is going to fit in the equation. I have asked at the earlier comments how the external will sync with the internal. Now, this question is rendered irrelevant since I have to see what the next installment will bring. Incidentally, I recommend that compatriots who can read Arabic to go through Abdulrazig’s article in Arabic, which is extremely lucid and entertaining.
    Ismail A. Ahmad

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